Jason Reynolds is an accomplished American author of novels and poetry. I listened to him speak about an old high school teacher. This teacher told the students that they were going to have a class pet. They all scoffed, especially when he told them it was going to be a fish. The eye rolls were audible. This wasn’t a science class. They all thought it was rather ridiculous. He told them that there was only one rule. They listened. They could never touch the fish. “No matter what,” he said, “you are never allowed to touch this fish or you will be suspended.” No one really reacted because, they thought, there would never be a reason to touch it. Days went by. They studied their humanities lessons. One day, at the beginning of the class, this teacher walked over to the tank and took the large fish out and threw it on the floor. The class was in shock! What was he doing? Was he insane? Mouths opened, but nobody moved. They could hear in their heads, “You must never touch this fish or you will be suspended.” The fish gasped for air. Flopping and pleading on the floor. Two of the high school girls couldn’t take it anymore and raced to the front of the room and picked up the fish, putting it back in the tank. Everyone sighed in relief. Surely this had to be a good thing. The teacher smiled at them. “Please go to the principal’s office,” he said. No no no, the class was saying. They saved the fish. “Please go now. You are both suspended.” They could hardly believe their ears. “Please go, keep walking” he said, “but hold your heads up high on the way. You did the right thing.” They left. “It’s not always easy to do the right thing,” he told the class. “But it still has to be done.” The future author said he felt nothing but shame…why had he just sat there, along with almost everyone else…”
In this experiment, it was always the women who saved the fish. Sacrificed themselves for the greater good. I have seen it throughout my life. My grandmother. My mother. Women all around me. Even during the times they were the fish themselves, they saved each other. Whatever challenges you are facing today, hold your heads up high, and keep walking.